Monday, September 04, 2006


I was born in 1964, the same year that the original G.I. Joe action figure appeared in toy stores. I take that as a sign. I was definitely part of the action figure generation. While my older, baby-boomer brother was playing with an arsenal of exotic weaponry (Secret Sam, Johnny Seven, Monkey Division, etc.), early Gen-Xers like myself were exposed to the kinder, gentler world of playing with dolls…er, action figures.

I was obsessed with action figures as a child. I tried to own every action figure on the market, but my parents would only indulge my passion so far. All things considered, I think I did pretty well, and I have fond memories of every figure I owned. That’s the reason for creating this blog.

Numerous sites exist which chronicle the history of action figures during the 60s and 70s, and I will reference these sites whenever appropriate. However, I wanted to share my recollections and perceptions of the action figures from my childhood and how these memories shaped my later life. I also want to delve into the art of customizing action figures to create one-of-a-kind figures the toy makers didn’t think of or never got around to making. I am, by no means, a great artist and have to use every ounce of skill and imagination I possess to construct even the most rudimentary of custom figure, but I’ve accumulated quite a bit of knowledge over the past several years and hope to pass along a few tips that others may find useful. By sharing my experiences with customizing action figures, I hope that others might say, “Heck, if this bozo can do it, maybe I can too.”

For example, here is a picture of a current work in progress: The Justice Society of America. Later, I'll provide more specifics about how I created these figures and the new members to be added.

Having grown up with the original, 1/6th scale G.I. Joe, my natural preference is for action figures that stand about 11 ½ to 12 inches tall. Not only was that the standard size from my early youth, figures of this larger size allow for more detailed costumes and accessories. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some beautifully customized figures using the eight-inch Mego figures (check out
The Mego Museum), but my stubby fingers aren’t dexterous enough to work in that scale. (Actually, I did one, but that will come in a later post.)

At any rate, I’m getting ahead of myself. I think it’s best to start at the beginning and discuss the action figures that influenced my early sense of fun and excitement. I’ll begin the next entry in this blog series with the granddaddy of all action figures, G. I. Joe.

1 comment:

Gene said...

I remeber the first G I Joe I held in my hands. He was as you said smooth of hair and clean of facial hair. He was every inch the proper soldier of the day. While I did not have an older brother I did have an older cousin, and he was my first intro into Joe's world. He was born in 1960 and I was born in '65 so he had them well before I did along with tons of accessories and as he got older the treasures were past to me. My first brand new Joe came in the form of AT Joe but with one difference. YES!! He had KUNG FU GRIP. Now he could hold anything the right way. and he could help fellow team members who had slipped from the dangerous perch without the aid of holding thier hands together. Ah yes the good old days of Joe. It takes me back.